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A NIGHT INSIDE THE GREAT PYRAMID 71
I did not hear these words with any physical ear; certainly no sound-vibration disturbed the silence of the chamber. Yet I seemed to hear them much in the manner in which a deaf man, using an electric earphone, might hear the words sounding against his artificial ear-drum; but with this difference—that they were heard on the inside of the drum. Really, the voice which came to me might be termed a mental voice, because it was surely heard within my head, but that might give the wrong impression that it was a mere thought. Nothing could be farther from the truth. It was a voice.
And I answered: "They are notl"
And he said:
"The stir of many crowds in the cities comforts the trembling heart of man. Go back, mingle with thy fellows, and thou wilt soon forget the light fancy that brings thee here/'
But I answered again: "No, that cannot be."
Still he strove once more.
"The way of Dream will draw thee far from the fold of reason. Some have gone upon it—and come back mad. Turn now, whilst there is yet time, and follow the path appointed for mortal feet."
But I shook my head and muttered: <fl must follow this way. There is none other for me now."
Then the priestly figure stepped forward closer and bent down again to where I sat.
I saw his aged face outlined by the surrounding darkness. He whispered against my ear:
"He who gains touch with us loses kin with the world, Art thou able to walk alone?"
I replied: "I do not know."
Out of the darkness came his last words:
"So be it. Thou hast chosen. Abide by thy choice for there is now no recall. Farewell," and he was gone.
I was left alone with the other spirit, who so far had only played the part of a silent witness.
He moved closer so that he stood now in front of the marble coffer. His face revealed itself as the face of a man, very very old. I dared place no guess of years upon him.